WHOU’S in the Classic? Astros in the 2009 WBC

Official WBC rosters came out last week and a handful of N.L. Central players made their country’s respective cut. Midwest Swing takes a deeper look into the lives of N.L. Central players battling for world supremacy.

Lost in the hoopla of the Cards/Brewers/Cubs in 2008, the Astros made their normal late charge in the division to make a bit of noise down the stretch. In the world of classic baseball (see what I did there?) the ‘Stros looked to have a say in the upcoming tournament. Wrong! What happened to patriotism, gents?

Chris Barnwell, Canada – SS
Stats in 2008: signed minor league contract with Houston in January; batted .276 in 94 games for Albequerque in the Pacific Coast League in 2008 (6 HR’s, 42 RBI, 16 SB’s).
Just how native is he? He is playing for Canada but he was born in Jacksonville, Florida … sooo America calls dibs.
Fun fact: He’s a Nease High School graduate, which is the same high school that Tim Tebow played for. That automatically makes him one of god’s chosen few per being linked to Tebow … but he still is Canadian.

T.J. Burton, Canada – P
2008 Stats: 2-2 with AA Akron Aeros and A Kinston Indians in 2008; 13 appearances with 3.90 ERA.
Just how native is he? He was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario … so he probably played hockey or something weak like that. Kidding, Canada.
Fun fact: He went to Notre Dame High School (Notre Dame was America’s school first, ipso facto America claims Burton).

Carlos Lee, Panama – LF
2008 stats: He batted .314 with 28 HR’s and 100 in 2008 for Houston; averaging 28 HR’s and 100 RBI’s in each of his 10 seasons.
Just how native is he? nicknamed El Caballo because he runs and owns a cattle ranch in Panama during the off-season) (totally a native because there is nothing worse then being Hispanic and converting your nickname to English … way to not fake the funk).
Fun fact: He has a brother also named Carlos who plays in the Brewers minor league system (I guess his parents went the George Foreman route … weak sauce).

Chia-Jen Lo, China – P
2008 stats: He was born in Taiwan and signed with the Astros in November. He played for Taiwan national team in Beijing; likely to start out in bullpen in single-ball.
Just how native is he? First ever Taiwanese player in Astros system (when you are the first of anything for a team, you are native through and through. Just ask Jackie Robinson).

Roy Oswalt, USA – SP
2008 stats: He went 17-10 with 3.54 ERA in 2008; averaging 16 wins and 165 K’s in eight full seasons.
Just how native is he? He won gold in 2004 Olympics (taking into account the premium American players put on playing in the Olympics, the fact that Oswalt played in them makes him a model American in the same vein as Abe Lincoln, FDR and Clarence Thomas … wait scratch that last one).
Fun fact: He spent TWO years in junior college in Mississippi before going pro; grew 2 inches, gained 15 pounds and added 3  MPH’s to fastball (that’s right kids, going BACK to school can help you).

Miguel Tejada, Dominican Republic – SS
2008 stats: .283 with 13 HR’s and 66 RBI’s in 2008; his lowest numbers since 2004.
Just how native is he? The fact that he could have his work VISA revoked if Congress doesn’t like what he has to say tells you how foreign this guy is.
Fun fact: What hasn’t been said about Miguel Tejada? Steroids, perjury, identification fraud: He’s a coke habit away from a starring role in the ESPN Deportes version of “Playmakers.”

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